The biggest surprise at San Jose’s Cinequest film festival so far is the indie comedy Here’s the Kicker, written by its star, Ian Michaels. The relationship of a prematurely retired football player and his girlfriend is being battered by their dead-end jobs in LA; (she is a make up artist – in porn films). To save their relationship, he agrees to move back to her hometown in Texas where they can open a salon/saloon: a combo beauty parlor and sports bar. Just as they are leaving on the road trip, he is offered his dream job as a football scout. When is he going to get the nerve to tell her? Along the way, they pick up his obnoxious former teammate and, most hilariously, his dad, who does NOT want to return to alcohol rehab. Many guffaws ensue in this all too rare occurrence – a satisfying American film comedy.
It’s hard to write comedy. Otherwise, we’d be seeing lots of good comedies. So Ian Michaels deserves some recognition, and, above all, to get more screenplays greenlighted.
As the girlfriend, Sarah Smick succeeds in remaining sympathetic despite being continually aggrieved – no easy accomplishment. Luce Rains is great as the drunk dad.
According to Ian Michaels at the screening, Director/Cinematographer/Editor Chris Harris made the key decision to cut some early scenes so the road trip could commence sooner. Obviously, that move worked. Here’s the Kicker deserves a wide release.